The AK 47 is the most widely used assault rifle due to its top-notch reliability and availability. Decades after its introduction, the Kalashnikov rifle remains in service with numerous militaries and irregular armed forces.
Nonetheless, to hit the intended targets with an AK, you need to learn to use its sighting system. If you’re unfamiliar with the layout of the sight, this article could help you with that.
Below is a comprehensive guide on how to use AK 47 sights, along with several important tips. Read through everything carefully, and you should master your AK in no time.
Overview of the Sights
The AK 47 assault rifle’s sighting system includes an adjustable post front sight and a fixed tangent rear sight. Elevation adjustment could be achieved by changing the front sight position.
Just move the post up if the POI (Point Of Contact) is high, and down if the POI is low. Windage (Horizontal) adjustments require shifting the cylinder right or left (behind the rifle point of view), depending on the current condition.
To compensate for windage, you have to use a specialized sight adjustment tool. The rear sight contains a sliding spring-loaded cylinder and a leaf calibrated in 100-meter increments from 100 to 800 meters.
Characteristics of the Sights
At first glance, the AK solid steel sights appear to be quite straightforward with simple and robust operations. The post of the rifle front sight is directly screwed to a movable cylinder right below it.
By moving the cylinder, which would change the elevation and windage setting, you would improve your POI. The rear sight is a conventional tangent design with preset sighting marks that let you engage targets at different ranges.
To change the range, you have to flip up the rear sight, move the cylinder to the suitable mark, flip it down then start shooting.
Here is a quick example of how to use the rear sight:
If you estimate the range between you and your target is around 400 meters or so, all you have to do is move the cylinder on the leaf to the “4” mark.
For 7.62x39mm AK rifles, there is a mark that looks like one of these: “П,” “P,” and “D.” These marks represent the “Battle Setting” with a range of 300 meters, which is considered to be the usual engagement distance.
In general, AK sights are easy to work with so you should be able to get used to them in a short period.
How to Aim Using the Sights
If you happen to have a fair amount of experience on how to aim iron sights or three-dot sights, then you probably could guess what needs to be done here.
The point is to align the top sections of the sights while keeping the front sight post in the middle of the rear sights at “U”.
Novices tend to close their non-dominant eye partially or wholly, but experienced shooters can shoot with both of their eyes open.
When the sights are in position, place them over the target, and squeeze the trigger.
Pay attention to the POI and the POA (Point And Aim). If the vertical deviation between POI and POA is more than 6 inches, then your AK needs to be sighted in.
Common Aiming Errors and Their Causes
- The POI is under the target: The front post is too low.
- The POI is over the target: The front post is too high.
- The POI is to the left of the target: The front sight is off to the right.
- The POI is to the right of the target: The front sight is off to the left.
Important Note for Range Estimation: The USSR and modern-day Russia train their soldiers to aim at the center of mass, or the belt buckle, within the “Battle Setting” range. Range estimating errors are irrelevant in this case since a well-aimed shot would hit the enemy torso most of the time.
For a 12-inch round target at 100 meters, you should position the aligned sights at the target’s lower edge. Assuming that the AK rifle is correctly sighted in, aiming in this manner should produce consistent hits at the center of the target.
How to Adjust the Sights
After a couple of shots, you should be able to determine whether the sight’s windage setting is acceptable or not and make changes accordingly.
If your POI is above your POA, you have to turn the front post counterclockwise to raise it.
If your POI is below your POA, you have to turn the front post clockwise to lower it down.
Most of the time, it’s advised that you keep the adjustment to small increments and memorize the post position.
When you are done with the adjusting, take the rifle to the shooting range and shoot a couple of rounds to verify the POI. You can also use the laser light to adjust.
Repeat the process until you feel satisfied with the shooting result. There is no need to rush. Just take your time here.
To keep track of the adjusting process, you could paint the post to make it more noticeable.
While you could use hard objects like rocks or bricks to move the post cylinder, you should consider using a purpose design adjustment tool. You could get one from the nearby gun store. It’s relatively cheap and easy to use.
Place the rifle on an even surface and wrap the adjustment tool around the post cylinder. Many designs are available for purchase, but they all include a simple lever screw that would push the cylinder side-to-side.
By turning the lever screw, you should be able to adjust the sight windage setting. Besides, experienced shooters usually use the bipod to stabilize the rifle, dispersing part of the recoil and boosting accuracy.
Similar to elevation adjustments, you should not go overboard with the cylinder. Move it slow and steady.
After each adjustment, check the new POI by shooting several rounds and see if the unique setting is good enough or not.
And that’s just about everything you need to know about learning how to use AK 47 sights.
It may be overwhelming at first, but as you repeat the steps over time, everything will get easier.
CHANGELOG: September 27, 2021 - Updated article images September 16, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title